Co-creators – far away and long ago

Dec
4
2009
by
Lynne McTaggart
/
39
Comments

Many people these days toss around the term ‘observer effect’ without really knowing what it is or what its full implications are.
Probably the person most responsible for examining this question was an American physicist called John Archibald Wheeler.
Wheeler, a protégé of Danish physicist Niels Bohr, was fascinated by what became known as the Copenhagen Interpretation, after the place where Bohr, and his brilliant protégé, the German physicist Werner Heisenberg, formulated the likely meaning of their extraordinary mathematical discoveries.
Bohr and Heisenberg realized that atoms are not little solar systems of billiard balls but something far more messy: a tiny cloud of probability.
As the founders of quantum theory first discovered in the early part of the twentieth century, subatomic particles like electrons or photons by themselves aren’t an actual anything yet.
Every subatomic particle is not a solid and stable thing, but instead exists in many states at once, in a state of pure potential — what is known by physicists as a ‘superposition’, or sum, of all probabilities.
Scientists only allow that an electron ‘probably’ exists when they pin it down and take a measurement, at which point those multiple states of being collapse and the electron settles down into a single state of being.
The fact that this occurs only when the particle is measured or observed suggests a staggering possibility to many scientists: that the role of the scientist himself — or in real life, the role of living consciousness — somehow is the influence on the smallest elements of life that turns the possibility of something into something real.
A new double-slit experiment
Wheeler wanted to test this with a variation of the famous double-slit experiment in quantum physics, a variation of an experiment with light first created by Thomas Young, a British physicist of the nineteenth century.
In Young’s experiment, a beam of pure light is sent through a single hole, or slit, in a piece of cardboard, then passes through a second screen with two holes before finally arriving at a third, blank screen.
In Young’s experiment, the light passing through the two holes forms a zebra pattern of alternating dark and light bands on the final blank screen. If light were simply a series of particles, two of the brightest patches would appear directly behind the two holes of the second screen – as a pattern of individual particles.
However, the brightest portion of the pattern is halfway between the two holes, caused by the combined amplitude of those waves that most interfere with each other. From this pattern, Young was the first to realize that light beaming through the two holes spreads out in overlapping waves.
A modern variation of the experiment fires off single photons through the double slit using a gadget called an interferometer. These single photons also produce zebra patterns on the screen, demonstrating that even single units of light travel as a smeared-out wave with a large sphere of influence.
Twentieth-century physicists went on to use Young’s experiment with other individual quantum particles, and held it up as proof that quantum physics has Through-the-Looking-Glass properties: quantum entities acted wavelike and travel though both slits at once.
Since you need at least two waves to create such interference patterns, the implication of the experiment is that the photon is somehow mysteriously able to travel through both slits at the same time and interfere with itself when it reunites.
Nevertheless, there is a catch to this experiment: when the experimental apparatus has a particle detector on it to discover which slit the photon went through, it changes the outcome of the experiment. Instead of being wave-like, the photon acts like a particle and is detected as definitely traveling through one of the two slits.
Rather than creating an interference pattern, it creates a definite particle pattern on the screen.
So when the particle detector is turned on, rather than a smeared out, uncongealed wave, the photon acts like a solid particle: it has come into being. At this point, it collapses to a single entity, goes through only one of the slits and enables you to track its path.
Delayed choice experiment
In 1978, when Wheeler was pondering the meaning of this experiment — which seemed to place an emphasis on whether the photons were detected or not — he wondered whether timing was important – whether it mattered at which point the photon is observed or measured.
He devised a famous thought experiment called the Delayed Choice Experiment, in which a particle detector is delayed so that the photon’s path only gets detected after it has gone through the slits.
Think of a photon which has already passed through the slits and is traveling toward the back walls. There are three possible routes for the photon: the left slit, the right slit or both slits at the same time, and at this stage, we don’t know which route it has taken.
Wheeler imagined that the apparatus includes a highly mobile detector screen, which can either be either removed at this point or left in place. If the screen is removed, two telescopes are revealed, each one trained on one of the slits. If the screen is removed, the telescopes be able to see and record a little flash of light as the photon traveled through one of the slits and so be able to detect the path of the photon through one or the other slit.
In this experiment, the observer has ‘delayed his choice’ of whether he wants to observe the path of the photon (via the telescopes) or not until after the photon has presumably made its decision to go through one slit, the other slit or both.
According to Wheeler’s ingenious mathematics, the path of the photons entirely depends upon whether they are observed or not.
Astonishingly, if we remove the screen and the telescopes record the path of the photons – even after the photon has passed through the double slits – we get a distribution pattern consistent with the kind of pattern we’d get if particles were going through one or the other of the two slits, but not both.
If the screen is up, the photons remain in a state of superposition and go through both slits.
Observation – backward in time?
The remarkable aspect of this experiment of course, is that timing is irrelevant: even after the event has occurred and the photon has gone through one or both slits, the presence or absence of the screen — that is the presence or absence of observation — determines its final outcome.
So the implications are that observation, even after the fact, determines the final outcome.
The observer entirely controls whether that which is observed comes into being – at any point in time.
In the words of Wheeler’s protégé, the famous physicist Richard Feynman, the role of the observer in quantum physics was the ‘mystery which cannot go away’.
Nevertheless Wheeler’s idea remained an intriguing feat of mathematics until 2007 when Jean-François Roch and his and his colleagues at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan in France found a way to carry out the experiment Wheeler had imagined thirty years ago.
At its most elemental, physical matter not only isn’t an anything yet, but remains something indeterminate until our consciousness becomes involved with it. The moment we look at an electron or take a measurement, it appears that we help to determine its final state. The most fundamental relationship of all may be matter and the consciousness that observes it.
However, what is most breathtaking about Wheeler’s discoveries and the proving by Roch and his fellows is the implications about the irrelevancy of time.
As Wheeler once noted in 2006, two years before he died: “We are participators in bringing into being not only the near and here but the far away and long ago.” In his fertile imagination, he even imagined the entire universe as one giant wave in need of observation to have brought it into being.
In this instance, perhaps the observer will turn out to be God.

Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart is an award-winning journalist and the author of seven books, including the worldwide international bestsellers The Power of Eight, The Field, The Intention Experiment and The Bond, all considered seminal books of the New Science and now translated into some 30 languages.

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39 comments on “Co-creators – far away and long ago”

  1. Well, I really enjoyed this blog and plan on forwarding it to friends. Quantum Physics is a difficult concept to grasp, but you've made it much easier to grasp. Thank you!I was also curious regarding whether any "true" experiments have been done or are planned that go along with the idea of measuring the mass of the human soul as fictionalized in Dan Brown's book. Would love to read a blog along those lines. Thanks again for all you do! L*

  2. Each of us "appear" as an individual expression of consciousness, co-creating at all times, or God observing God-self. Two "individuals" agreeing to observe the same thought have exponential power to generate what are called miracles. Miracles are actually natural, healing is a return to our natural state of perfection. The sudden change in the effects of illness is the result of the correction of wrong thought which seems to have occurred at a time in the past. Miracles save time.
    The power to perform miracles (alter physical matter, heal bodies, raise the dead) comes from the rigorous practice of trust, honesty and a shedding of ego by training the mind to focus on good. It is possible to train the mind in this manner. The end result is often called "enlightenment" or "Christhood."

  3. This is highly interesting. It coincides with my pondering Conscious Dying before we die, helped by Michael Brown of The Presence Process, where we consciously birth ourselves into our vibrational awareness by establishing a relationship with our Inner Presence and surrendering to it. The Presence operates beyond time based experience--where everything is NOW. I'm not in a position to say much more now, but I feel like something momentous is becoming possible for human beings--which I greatly desire--and that we are being offered insights from many directons to see how we actually affect what is happening in life in this world. Thank you, Lynn.

  4. The term 'the observer' must in the case of Humanity be the collective unconconcious, else the change from energy to matter would be differant in each individual case and would result in a differing awareness of reality.
    The fact that the experiment worked regardless of when the observation took place really does prove the power of intention. The energy was somehow aware that the observer intended to observe it, and reacted accordingly.
    James

  5. Perhaps we are at a place in our evolution that such concepts of the acceptance of the observer/consciousness is more widely accepted and people can finally realize that we all come from the same source - a field of infinite possibilities. If our thoughts and actions were whole and focused on the good, the highest potential, we truly would have heaven on earth. Is this what the New Age is heralding? Can man rise above his petty egoic needs and see himself for what he really is? We are all an amazing force of pure potential, not separate entities. The more enlightened we become, the more harmony we spread throughout the planet and universe. Namaste.

  6. The Quantum Enigma by Dr. Bruce Rosenblum puts this in an easy to understand context.
    The effect is actually theory neutral. The experimental results are theory neutral.
    It appears that we must change perspective. Matter seems to exist in superposition, in all potentials, unless "observed" by consciousness.
    What is consciousness?? It is not the result of physical process since it is required in order to localize matter from which the physical process arise.
    Thanks Lynne.

  7. My observation as a young 5 year old , now a 54 y.o.a.-- as i helped my neighbors-- happily to do chores for free, since i would get a exzillerating chill go from my tail all the way through my spine to my head... a child that loved that feeling. My intention was to do this the rest of my life and saw more than a dozen miracles. When I got to my 50's and worn down body, my mother said; You better start taking care of your self, since your whole life was for others b-4. Then i told her i did not know if that was going to be easy...now with 2 children of my own i am enjoying the benefits of my actions and it is still exzillerating as b-4... : Love paul.

  8. When people separate me from them, cricitize me, react against me, work at establishing their perception of me as the absolute truth about me, THEY are being "egoic". When I turn to people for help and they do the same things, THEY are being egoic. When I turn to other people and they tell me I am being egoic, paranoid, and whatever else because I am hurting over people separating themselves from me and me from them and literally fighting to make all their prejudical assumptions about me be established as absolute unqualified truth about me, then THEY are being "egoic". And they are blocking me from influencing them along the lines of this blog and the responses to it. They are blocking the miracles "Rose" talked about above. AND THAT IS WHY IT TORMENTS ME. Knowing we are all one is not peaceful for all people. For some of us, it is suffering. If that pain is my way of being "egoic", what can I do? Focus more on positive thoughts? Who says my response to all of this resistance to my love and awarenes and consciousness is negative !! Not me !! And who says this pain is proof of all those negative and false assumptions about me? NOT ME! and who says it is right for people to run me out of job after job for all the years since 1974 because of their negative prejudical assumptions about me? NOT ME! THEY, those aggressive resistant people say all of this and gloat over the pain they cause me. And I have only scratched the surface in terms of a description of what people do to me to block me from getting along with them in the most basic ways. Not to mention of being one with them in spirit and consciousness and awareness and uplifting them by my love for them. And who says all of this is paranoid and paranoia!!
    I am informing the readers that not all people are receptive to the oneness of all life and consciousness and they viciously fight it.

  9. And I do not create it by being hurt over it or thinking about it. I do not create it. People who cannot tolerate a man who is loving and from the north (USA), white, unaggressive, Italian, Catholic and not born again christian and ultra conservative create all of this and they do it over and over again. Now I live on social security and certain people are fighting me for not working !! How do I reach them?
    And they are doing it to Presiden Obama and his wife and administration. They are consciously resisting him just to resist a black man on the "left". SEE: right and left, white and black, male and female, good and bad, acceptable and not acceptable, work ethic or free spirit---they are all anti-christ separations. And they are deliberately formed in resistance to the oneness of all life. Try telling these people they are making problems for nothing! Try telling them life is good and sacred !! Try telling them Buddha is not burning in "hell". Try telling them there are no demons on this world; that people are responsible for all the wars and rapes and sales and purchases of women and children; and that clean air and water is desirable! Try !!

  10. Thanks Lynne for your blog. My observer effect knowledge is in tact. The other posts are pretty depressing. I think the master will appear when the studen is ready.
    My insight about the observer: I believe God is wanting our conscious attention in order to bring his kingdom into reality on earth.

  11. Fabulous stuff.. Thank You.. I read The Intention Experiment in record time and I am now half way through The Field. They are absolutely the best. It is difficult to understand at times but the main message that I get from all of this is that we are truly magnificant creators of our own existance. As a student of the Law of Attraction I have successfully manifested many things and events into my life altering forever what I am and what I know we all are and that is divine beings.

  12. Hello Tom V.
    I hear what you are saying and have experienced similar things. I would like to tell you my story. About a year ago I became a student of The Law of Attraction which states "that which is like unto itself is drawn". As a result of this I realized that what ever I gave my attention to whether wanted or unwanted became part of my life. In other words, there is no such thing as no. We can not push anything away but we can do is focus on what is wanted and then believe that we will receive it. It takes practice but in my humble opinion it's worth the effort.
    Namaste.

  13. Re: "New Intention Experiment... Jason Wujek."
    "His medical challenge, which still has doctors somewhat confused, cause his body to produce significant amounts of uric acid which collect in his joints and cause them to swell to shocking proportions. The pain is constant and unbearable. He spends most days & nights lying down unable to do almost anything. "
    It's virtually impossible effect a healing until Jason does something similar to The Clearing Process. That is to say, even Jason can't eliminate integrity as the cause for his aliment until he "observes." Most vets (given a safe space to tell the truth without losing compensation, that they unconsciously intended to be wounded) acknowledge that they were out-integrity to be killing others for reasons. The karma for perpetrations is different for each of us. Most vets pay themselves back with lifetime debilitating reminders to clean up, to acknowledge, life's perpetrations. Few are willing to look at the remote possibility that it was they who intended their wounds.
    Jason has devoted an entire lifetime to manifesting this result. It would be cross purpose for anyone to try and thwart his unconscious intention to be sick until he formulates an intention to heal.
    Remember, like 99% of the population, Jason, communicates from an adversarial communication model in which blame (as opposed to responsibility/cause) is predominant
    Kerry

  14. hi from Oz to everyone - thank you Kerry for your blog - I do not take part in the healing side of Lynne's intention experiment other than to send the wisest options for the people concerned. They have created their realities whether it be in this life time or a previous one, so it is pure cosmic law playing out!! I use the intention process to change and move forward in my own life only and that includes my family members. In the 90's here in Perth so many friends were "white lighting" family and friends to "protect them", this is totally based in fear (mostly of LOSS). I understand why they were doing this but we have the opportunity NOW to move away from these practices. Love Lynnes blog above about the OBSERVER - its cosmic law!!! Without the observer there aint nothing there. HOOROO from Perth

  15. This is the way I see it: 'That Something or No Thing' - call it God if you will - ordains which way the particle will go. It also ordains how the so-called observer will observe it, either using the two telescopes, each trained on one of the slits or with the screen in place. However the 'observer', who imagines he has a free will, mistakenly believes that it is his observation that has dictated the path of the particle!

  16. Many years ago I researched this topic and came to the conclusion that the non matter that binds all matter together is concious. Reading this blog makes me think that we as observers are the conciousness in the non matter that makes everything possible.

  17. Thank you John D.
    You reassured me!
    Ravindra Joshi:
    I like what you said.
    I like what you both said !

  18. God determines how the particle travels and manifests; not the observer. Or perhaps, the observer and God.
    Frankly, I think it is dangerous to equate physics and Hinduism. I let each discipline teach me what it can teach me, knowing each person grows at his/her own rate and to his/her own capacity.
    I wrote what I wrote above because it is where I am at right now: I am one with all life and consciousness and people resist that and it causes me inherent pain. Then people tell me I am manifesting all of this. NO, I am just enduring it. I am not a god. I do not create reality. and I do not have power over people's minds. We are ONE yet we are individual beings too.
    IF that is "wrong" then someday I will know because I am growing in insight, consciousness, awareness just like everyone else.
    If you can manifest a healing with Intention, then good for you. As of now, I cannot. But please understand: it is not YOU; it is GOD.

  19. When you described Wheeler’s Delayed Choice Experiment thought experiment Lynne, which was later demonstrated by Roche, the explanation given was that consciousness determined the outcome regardless of timing.
    This explanation is based on the assumption that the probabilistic or ‘superposition’ of quantum mechanics of the universe magically collapses to a single state when observed. This became known as The Copenhagen Interpretation because Wheeler, Bohr, Dirac, Heisenberg, and others, found it inexplicable using any kind of formula that they could come up with up, so they postulated—that is to say, they decided arbitrarily—that what happens is that human consciousness ‘collapses’ the wave function.
    However, Hugh Everett, a student of Wheeler, prepared a doctoral dissertation demonstrating elegant mathematics proposing that rather than observing the result as either a wave or a particle, multiple worlds are generated in which all possibilities are experienced. If true, this meant that rather than the singularity of reality postulated by classical physics, human beings were also quantum entities of probabilistic potential. Wheeler made Everett remove all criticism of The Copenhagen Interpretation for scientific political reasons and initiated a controversy that rages today.
    In the multiple world model, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice Experiment would be not be the ‘magic’ of consciousness changing reality, but reality being experienced by one ‘probabilistic’ version of the observer.
    This understanding of reality takes on even more significance when considering the proven power of conscious intention. If we humans are a co-creative part of the quantum universe, then we don’t just select materialized reality through observation, we interact with quantum possibilities and change them on a moment-by-moment basis.
    To read more on this intriguing topic, click on: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/manyworlds/original.html

  20. A few words for Tom V. These are words I live by and they give me peace in all situations:
    Everyone loves me whether realized at the moment or not.

  21. It seams our Human need is to feel we are special, that our being here makes a difference. And now the discovery that we really are and really do.

  22. Thanks Tom V.
    How precisely - and elegantly - you have described your position!
    Perhaps, what meaning one attaches to 'I' or within what boundaries one confines 'I' either makes one the creator of reality or its victim.

  23. "I, you, me, we, he, she, they, our... these differentiations do not exist in the realm of the mystics."
    They only way out of the illusion of separation is forgiveness. It may "appear" that you are being attacked from the outside. In reality, it's only yourself who is calling out for love.

  24. Quite fascinating. I believe the next step in quantum physics is to find out what the "observer" really is, and the mechanics of how observation turns waves/probabilities into particles/reality. I think the best way to do this is to stay away from words like "God" or "soul" (which carry too much baggage) and explore it scientifically with a clean slate.

  25. Fascinating article and a few of the comments. I am unable to appreciate the article in full and some of the comments, on account of my complete lack of scientific knowledge.
    However, would like to add - the next step in quantum physics is to find out 'who' the observer really is, and not 'what'
    I found Rose's comment - ' God observing God-self' very interesting

  26. Since first being exposed to Lynne and company in the 'What The Bleep' DVD, I've been consumed with the study and application of this knowledge, and it makes up a large portion of my upcoming book.
    There are numerous philosophical debates happening amongst physicists today, and the 'observer' is a hotly contested theory.
    Does the observer exist as a separate entity, as in can you be the only one? Or is the concept of the observer an outcome of the sum of human conciousness and our mutual, concurrent observations?
    The double slit experiment infers an individual can and does have an effect on matter. If you research the Zeno Effect, you'll find another great example of an individual's observations affecting physical matter.
    The real question I ask of my readers is, doesn't this physical truth circumvent the concept of a third party observer such as God?
    If what we observe with intention, can have an effect on physical matter, then we are Gods!
    Write On!

  27. For Tom V. We really are God, that is the answer to the puzzle. Suggest Three Magic Words a book by U. S. Anderson. Thanks for your comments.
    Adonai

  28. Hey
    I am new to this web site and I really do not know if this is the right place to put in my suggestion - so excuse me if not.
    I believe in the power of collective intention.
    Why don't we start an experiment where we all think "Stop innocent killings and suicide attacks in Pakistan and Iraq" for that matter everywhere it happens but these two places are worst hit right now and pains me everyday going through the breaking news.
    Lets see how that works. Let that be a challenge. It might be difficult for a start - but I am sure if we have a good number of people with the same intention and think think think the same thing at the same time of a day every day for a 6 months may be - who knows we might just see a noticeable change ?
    If we can do this - you know - I mean - you know what that will mean - it will be one of the greatest things to happen to our world . It will start a new world.
    Sorry - if that sounded like a crazy idea! Just a positive thought 🙂

  29. Rudolf Steiner held that when we observe plant forms we imbue them with soul - at least that is what I understood him to have said. He purported that our loving, intentional gaze towards the manifestations of the earth brings out their fullest being. Isn't that true of us humans too? Do we not become the best we can be when others see that potential in us?

  30. Deb-
    How about this?
    Gracious Creator,
    Thank you for peace in the Middle East.
    In the name of One we pray,
    Amen
    Rose

  31. Actually this "observer" approach to quantum physics argues against a "God." The whole idea of a superposition of states is that it (the superposition) can only exist if it is NOT observed. If there were an observer who was constantly observing EVERYTHING then all state functions would be eigenstates (one definite, observable state or another) and not a superposition of states. If that were the case things like solid state devices (in computer chips, for example) would not work.
    Be careful how your philosophy interprets the gray areas of what quantum physicists call "the measurement problem" or you might be unwittingly embracing atheism.

Why wait any longer when you’ve already been waiting your entire life?

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